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Obama Kicks Off Massive Science Education Effort

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 3 years ago | from the need-a-new-space-race dept.

Education 801

In a speech at the White House today, President Obama launched a new campaign, "Educate to Innovate," designed to get American students fired up about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The full text of the speech is also available on whitehouse.gov. "The new campaign builds on the President's Inaugural Address, which included a vow to put science 'in its rightful place.' One of those rightful places, of course, is the classroom. Yet too often our schools lack support for teachers or the other resources needed to convey the practical utility and remarkable beauty of science and engineering. As a result, students become overwhelmed in their classes and ultimately disengaged. They lose, and our nation loses too. The partnerships launched today aim to change that. They respond to a challenge made by the President in April, when he spoke at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences and asked the nation's philanthropists, professional and educational societies, corporations, and individuals to collaborate and innovate with the goal of reinvigorating America's STEM educational enterprise. The partnerships announced today — dramatic commitments in the hundreds of millions of dollars, generated through novel collaborations and creative outreach activities — are just the first wave of commitments anticipated in response to his call."

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801 comments

And In Unrelated News... (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205890)

America's artistic value continues to decline with each hollywood blockbuster to be released. No studies whatsoever have been made to test if it could possibly be correlated to poor schooling in the fields of Language Arts, Drama/Theatre, and Humanitarian studies.

Up Next, a story about how a 3 legged dog saved a baby.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (5, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205962)

In other news politicians still haven't made the connection between an arbitrary and inherently abusive disciplinary system of absolute authority with no accountability or responsibility layed over the top of a system of "education" designed around teaching students to do well on a few standardized tests and students becoming "disengaged".

Ditch zero tolerance and standardized tests and the problem will solve itself.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (5, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206138)

Ditch zero tolerance and standardized tests and the problem will solve itself.

Even better, ditch the Department of Education with its centralized planning, heavy handed bureaucracy and one-size-fits-nobody policies and return the control of education to local school boards. Let them decide for themselves what's right for their district and what isn't because no two school districts are alike, and what works for one fails for another.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206300)

"You're a radical! How DARE you tear apart the DOE? Everything would go to hell if you did that! We live in a society and we must have government running that society. Duh." - pro-big-government citizen

Re:And In Unrelated News... (5, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206370)

It's obvious that local school boards can't run their schools according to standards. We should have a national educational governance with the ability to override the folly of local school board.

For further information, see "Creationists take over local school board and fuck everyone's chances of being accepted into a college"

Re:And In Unrelated News... (5, Informative)

dreamt (14798) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206356)

Yeah, after all, it was the DoE's fault that Kansas wanted to teach creationism - oh, wait, that was the Kansas board of education.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (4, Insightful)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206446)

I don't support teaching creationism, but Kansans should be able to decide what gets taught in Kansas - not the federal government.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206272)

You know I think they (meaning the government) have this backwards. Engineering and science is FUN. You get to learn all kinds of neat facts, and do cool projects like building solar-powered cabins or toy cars while going through your high school & college courses.

It's the real world that sucks. I enjoyed my engineering/science right up to the point where I graduated, and they stuck me in a little tiny cubicle, by myself, staring at boring code and schematics. Day-after-day. Week-after-week. Year-after-year.

That's when it stopped being fun.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206374)

enormous +1.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206396)

The US public school teachers have an appalling way of making the most interesting things boring as hell. I'm glad I never became an engineer, I love tinkering too much. I'm also glad my parents instilled a love of learing and a healthy curiosity in me.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206362)

Clearly you know zero about education and are just spouting off some ridiculous ideology disconnected from reality. Before zero tolerance and standardized tests our school system sucked. With them it's marginally better but improving. At least we have something to measure now. What do you recommend we replace it with? Experiential learning? Maybe create some portfolios and talk about our feelings?

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206388)

How would you have any level of fairness without standardized testing? How would you be able to have any level of accountability without standardized testing?

Standardized tests are needed, but better ones (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206428)

To you and people who think like that (sibling post by techno-vampire going even further in this)... I'd like to note that there is a reason why we need standardized tests. If each school acts on it's own, some might become better than now, others worse. You could look at two people's papers and not know how good they are compared to each other unless you are well familiar of quality of every school in the country. We really need standardized tests to fix this, to give some guideline with which to compare students' knowledge to others.

Your argument is really not that much against standardized tests. It is against badly used standardized tests, which can be fixed if it is made into a priority. I can't comment on this one as I'm not from USA and have never gone through such. However, here in Finland there are pretty few standardized tests but they are important: At the end of highschool you are put to national tests about each subject (a group of good teachers evaluate all tests without knowing to whom they belong to or even what school are the exam takers from) and everyone gets a grade relative to others. On each year, 5% best get the best grade, those who aren't in 5% but are in 20% get the next best one... Of course there are some variations (a score that would have been just enough for the best grade on one year could be just below the limit on the next) but overall it gives a pretty good result.

If people from one highschool consistently get lower grades, the school get a bad reputation and nobody wants to go there. Publicly funded schools (=practically every single one) get funded based on how many students graduate so schools have some interest to compete with other schools when it comes to quality of education.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206172)

False equivalence:

Hollywood does not output the entirety of American art.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206354)

Of course not, but if you had to pick the part of it that is most world renowned, it'd make the top of the list.

But its not the only place experiencing such a "decline". I mean, its harder to judge artistic stature because its a topic so open to opinions. One person might like it, another might not. It's all just an expression. A movie is someone telling a story. A song is someone else's abstract thoughts. How do you judge artistic value on such things?

Originality and Eloquence, just to name a couple. I think most people here would agree that Hollywood movies are not as original as they once were. I also think most people here would agree that a majority of "America's top 40 hits" in this current day and age are not Eloquent.

I just find difficulty giving the same credit to awesome CGI Explosions as I do Shakespeare.

Re:And In Unrelated News... (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206412)

>>>poor schooling in the fields of Language Arts, Drama/Theatre, and Humanitarian studies.

I see the value of Language Arts (so we can communicate) and History (so we don't repeat the same mistakes), but not the rest of it. Why do I need to take a theater class? If I wanted to act, then I'd act. Or better yet, just watch other people act. I don't feel like wasting time on stuff I don't want to do, or need for my job.

Same goes for Gym/Sports. At my last reunion I saw several of my school's former football players and other athletes. They are all fat and out-of-shape. That was several million dollars that could have been spent on real courses. The athletes could have learned something useful, like reading.

STEM... (2, Insightful)

rayharris (1571543) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205906)

still can't compete with PS, Xbox, Wii, DS, etc.

Which is why we're heading towards second-world country status.

Re:STEM... (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205986)

We are going to join the Warsaw Pact?

Because Nato is first world, Warsaw Pact second and everyone else third. Words have meaning, learn what they are before you use them.

Re:STEM... (4, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206024)

The definitions I learned are broadly similar to yours, but make no mention whatsoever of "Nato" and "Warsaw Pact." Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to assume your paradigm is the one and only correct one.

Re:STEM... (1)

rayharris (1571543) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206110)

Would you get your panties untwisted if I said "second-rate" country instead? The Cold War ended 18 years ago. Move on.

Re:STEM... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206158)

Second-rate would be fine.

You might want to inform Putin of that fact.

Re:STEM... (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206186)

The Cold War ended 18 years ago... OMG, that's what causing Global Warming(TM)!

In Russia, commie govt gives health care to YOU (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206164)

We are going to join the Warsaw Pact?

Republican pundits would say as much about Democratic proposals for U.S. universal health care.

Re:STEM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206002)

Are you so sure? What percentage of modern CS enrollments are there because they'd love to make games? What percentage of them will actually make games? The rest are still furthering science/technology by getting their degrees.

There are also educational games, or research games like the Folding@Home's game that lets amateurs try to create unique protein packing. There's even research suggesting that playing games can improve cognition.

Obviously too much gaming isn't a good thing, but neither is watching too much television, the latter which is far less stimulative compared to games.

Re:STEM... (1)

Pyrofool (1028480) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206034)

Hey that's not quite fair, My PSone is the reason I decided to go into CS. I've become disengaged with the complexities of character leveling and find CS much more interesting.

Though I would blame the lack of interest in science and innovation the reason for our declination. I don't have to look farther than my own classes, which are filled with non-American students.

Re:STEM... (0, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206134)

still can't compete with PS, Xbox, Wii, DS, etc.

If it were easier for hobbyists to run homemade code on the aforementioned platforms, there might be incentive to teach STEM through gaming. XNA is a start for college, but that still leaves high school because XNA Creators Club members must be 18+.

Re:STEM... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206340)

still can't compete with PS, Xbox, Wii, DS, etc.

Ah, it can handle that, what it can't compete with is H1B, NAFTA.

The supply is already far too high for the demand, given the levels of under-employment, unemployment, and low salary I've seen over the past few decades.

So, what's the point of increasing the oversupply even further?

Well, if you assume the govt always does what screws the most middle class people, you'll find that explains a heck of a lot about ... everything.

Naming? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205920)

I wonder if the abbreviation if a jab at Bush's policy against stem research. Probably just coincidental.

Re:Naming? (1)

rayharris (1571543) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206012)

Not really. The STEM acronym has been around a lot longer than Obama's inauguration.

For example, the STEM Education Coalition [stemedcoalition.org] has been around since 1996.

Re:Naming? (1, Flamebait)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206070)

I don't know what it stands for now but in a few years it'll be referred to as:

STupid Education Mandates

Re:Naming? (4, Informative)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206094)

You mean, his anti-stem cell research policy where he shrunk the previous administrations budget of $0.00 to several millions. Is that the anti-stem cell research policy you are talking about? I guess you would have been much happier if he just kept the previous administrations spending level on this research.

In Other News.... (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205928)

Nasa's budget slashed once again....

Easier solution: (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205940)

Massive cash awards to US scientists. These kids choose not to go into science because it is not cool. Why is it not cool? Lots of hardwork and small incomes. If you give scientists boat loads of money, they become cool.

Instead we will waste another $huge_amount dollars on some lame education effort only to have the kids still want to be Kobe Bryant, or Dr. Dre.

Re:Easier solution: (4, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205996)

It's true - when growing up I was among the more technically inclined kids and thus was slightly interested in computer sciences. While programming was fun I wasn't sure if its what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

However, when I was old enough to start looking at the numbers, I realized it was a good field to get into. Little Post secondary required to land a high paying job.

When scientific research reaches such a status, I'm sure the same thing will happen. A handful of people I know wish they could become theoretical physicists, but because the money isn't there, they go into Engineering.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206148)

That's what I did. Physics still interests me, but it's really not worth it for a biomedical engineer to get a minor or second major in physics.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206014)

Instead we will waste another $huge_amount dollars on some lame education effort only to have the kids still want to be Buck Rogers, or John Wayne.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206020)

Meh. Not necessarily... doctors and lawyers also are notorious for making big bucks, but that doesn’t somehow induce millions of high-schoolers to sit around all summer engrossed in dry legal and medical tomes.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206102)

No, but it has taken those soon-graduates interested in Biology to go towards a medical degree as opposed to studying human remains & Archaeology. When it comes to the education that pretty much determines your future, the money plays a pretty big roll. And we've reached the day and age where kids start thinking about it in high school.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206114)

But when they come to apply to colleges, which professions look like they'll pay off their student debt?

Say, Obama was a physicist, right? Right? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Easier solution: (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206234)

I can’t possibly count the number of people who were in engineering school who were in it only because they expected the payoff, stayed in it only by the skin of their teeth (if that), and were generally lost when it came to labs, homework, and tests. However, I doubt they applied themselves in high school, and if they had done so they would have likely been in a much better situation when they got to college.

I just don’t really buy the notion that money = cool to a high schooler. Their focus is much too short-term. Pumping a profession full of cash might capture the attention of the incoming college students, but by then you’ve lost invaluable years of teaching.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206182)

No, but lots of kids do want to be doctors and lawyers. Look at how many TV shows are based around doctors or lawyers.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206286)

Yeah, but their focus is much too short-term and on instant gratification for them to actually apply themselves toward a long-term goal such as that.

It’s only when they start thinking about college that they do, and it’s a shame that they’ve basically wasted a good portion of their K-12 schooling.

Your plan would probably get more college students interested in those fields, sure – somewhat artificially, I’d add – but to make a really brilliant scientist, you need someone whose sense of curiosity and desire for knowledge led them to learn throughout their whole life, not just in college.

There's still one more chance to be a doctor... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206324)

No, but lots of kids do want to be doctors and lawyers. Look at how many TV shows are based around doctors or lawyers.

Yeah! Like "Doctor Who"!

Re:Easier solution: (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206224)

Being cool means kids don't feel stigmatized if they enter a field. The study comes later after choosing a career. Lawyers and doctors are often portrayed as smart, powerful, as well as highly paid in movies and TV. Compare that to the lead scientist in Independence Day. He couldn't even afford decent pants.

Re:Easier solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206346)

No, but I'd argue that he was one of the coolest guys in the movie. Second, of course, to Will Smith.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206062)

Having teachers that actually know science is also somewhat necessary, and for that to happen you need to pay people that know science enough that it's worth it for them to teach. I would argue rather than huge cash prizes for scientists you need huge cash prizes for teachers of science at the High School levels. I guess preferably there should be a lot of crossover.

But the fact is, you can make a lot of money as an engineer and scientist as it is. Partly because so few people get interested in doing it and even less of those are able to hack it. The money making ability isn't missing, the aptitude and attitude is, and that needs to be instilled at a younger level.

Re:Easier solution: (2, Funny)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206064)

Kobe and Dre are both are regular slashdot commenters, I might add. Kobe says he comes to slashdot so that people will, "treat me like a regular person." Dre rips off sigs for lyrics.

Re:Easier solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206068)

h4rr4r hates black people

Re:Easier solution: (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206244)

Yes, that is because I am in fact GWB.

That is why our country is in this mess, because rather than presidenting I spent all my time posting on slashdot.

In case you like the AC are an idiot the preceding was a joke.

Also Dr.Dre is awesome, and shitty rappers like that lil wayne punk could learn a lot from him.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206096)

Massive cash awards to US scientists. These kids choose not to go into science because it is not cool. Why is it not cool? Lots of hardwork and small incomes.

Instead we will waste another $huge_amount dollars on some lame education effort only to have the kids still want to be Kobe Bryant, or Dr. Dre.

Except for the wasting boatloads of cash part - I'd say that's a good thing. Because that means the kids that grow up to be scientists do so because they want to be scientists rather than because it is cool. Real science is hard, dull, and painfully boring detail work - except to those with an interest in and a passion for it.
 
Science and society are much better off if we filter out those who can't hack it as early as possible.
 

If you give scientists boat loads of money, they become cool.

MBA's, lawyers, web developers... all have been cool, and all have made (at times) boatloads of money. But I don't think society or those fields are any better off for flooding those fields with folks in search of the pot 'o gold.

Re:Easier solution: (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206408)

Because that means the kids that grow up to be scientists do so because they want to be scientists rather than because it is cool. Real science is hard, dull, and painfully boring detail work - except to those with an interest in and a passion for it.

Oh, science is pretty cool, but they must have the stupidity to believe they are only worthy if they take a vow of poverty.

Oddly enough, no one expects investment bankers or lawyers to take a vow of poverty, and oddly enough, those are "cooler" professions. What a coincidence.

Money awards are not the solution (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206108)

the solution is to make science, let alone education cool. As my girlfriend puts it, convincing her child that its not acting white, its about not having to rely on others, its about being proud of yourself, its about being able to take care of yourself and others.

Focusing on money is what gets us into the mess we are in. The problem with much of education today is that children don't see the investment being worth while because even they can see people getting something for nothing. They have this tv mentality that nothing should be hard. Pride in self. Many science oriented jobs pay well, the problem is that they may not pay well initially.

Its just like sports. The best get paid the big bucks. They focus on it, they have an affinity for it, they have the drive to keep pushing. You don't wake up one day and graduate one day and end up in wealth. You earn it through hard work.

Re:Money awards are not the solution (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206250)

convincing her child that its not acting white

Might I add... convincing [our children] that it's not acting black, either? Or macho, or whatever the Asian equivalent is. There's a lot of white kids that think acting black is cool now. And frankly, it seems that "acting white" or "acting black" typically means "irresponsible, stupid, and act-like-don't-care-about-anyone-or-anything"

You earn it through hard work.

Most of the politicians currently in Washington didn't. I wonder if that has something to do with the stupid legislation?

They have this tv mentality that nothing should be hard. Pride in self.

Very, very true. The "feed me, I deserve it" mentality. Don't-have-to-work-for-anything. How-dare-they-ban-me-from-xbox-live. Where's-my-iPhone-dad?

It seems to me that there's also a significant worldview issue going on, too. People don't care about each other... at all, it seems. Which is why you can have gang rapes that people watch and nobody cares enough about the victim more than they care about their own "snitch" status. No one is willing to take a risk to help someone else. Ok, not "no one," but you get the idea. It seems that the self-centered look-out-for-number-one ... perhaps Freudian philosophy is not doing so well for "humanity." Not to mention passing the blame to anyone and everyone else but yourself ("you're a good person, so we know you didn't do this out of yourself, is there something in your past that made you do it?" or pleading temporary insanity ... etc...)

There are a lot of problems in the world, hehe.

Re:Easier solution: (0, Troll)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206242)

Massive cash awards to US scientists. These kids choose not to go into science because it is not cool. Why is it not cool? Lots of hardwork and small incomes. If you give scientists boat loads of money, they become cool.

Instead we will waste another $huge_amount dollars on some lame education effort only to have the kids still want to be Kobe Bryant, or Dr. Dre.

You're funny. They already do this in who they funnel money to for grants. This is why you see scientists in climate research doing everything they can to squelch opposing views, block FOIA requests and most likely fudge data. If this "climate gate" shows anything is that there are way too many scientists who hold their views, reputation and grant money much higher than the scientific process. Give scientists more money and you're only going to encourage psychopaths who are in it for money.

M,

This is truly awful. GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years.

I think the decline began before Saiers. I have had some unhelpful dealings with him recently with regard to a paper Sarah and I have on glaciers — it was well received by the referees, and so is in the publication pipeline. However, I got the impression that Saiers was trying to keep it from being published.

Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. Even this would be difficult.

How different is the GRL paper from the Nature paper? Did the authors counter any of the criticisms? My experience with Douglass is that the identical (bar format changes) paper to one previously rejected was submitted to GRL.

T.

http://www.corbettreport.com/articles/20091120_cru_hacked.htm [corbettreport.com]

Excellent! More awards! (4, Funny)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205978)

Now we can give Obama the Nobel prize for Chemistry and Physics as well!

ws

Re:Excellent! More awards! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206380)

So, he bashed American students in this speach? That's how he "earned" his previous prize. Did he call the American children the stupidest kids on Earth? That would be sure to earn him these prizes!

fired up, huh? (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205988)

...designed to get American students fired up about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

No offense, Mr. President, but you want to know what really gets us fired up about those things? Getting paid for it. There are a select few of us that are willing to work for peanuts making the world a better place, spending hours working intractable problems, and sacrificing our social and sex lives all for the sake of The Greater Good. The rest of us -- we want to be paid for our work. The work isn't glamorous -- it's demanding, thankless, and for most requires an expensive education that they aren't reimbursed for. This field in particular (information technology) was gutted about seven years ago under the last administration in the name of short term profits. There is no R&D budget left for innovation, and not much has happened that's revolutionary in this industry since the bubble burst.

If you want to showcase our science and technology, start by making this country the best place to be for it once again -- rather than watching as Europe turns on the LHC while ours sits half-finished in Texas. Send some money to the Department of Energy to fund some physics over here. Give some grant money out so we can deploy a successor to the internet that doesn't suck, controlled by private interests who only want to sell us viagra, cheap thrills, pay per view, and piss-poor last mile connections. Put us back in space, which was once a source of national pride and now languishes as an embarassment. And cancel Enterprise -- goddamn that show sucks!

Re:fired up, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206092)

from wikipedia.. "Low ratings prompted UPN to cancel Star Trek: Enterprise on February 2, 2005, but the network allowed the series to complete its fourth season. The final episode aired on May 13, 2005."

Re:fired up, huh? (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206160)

from wikipedia.. "Low ratings prompted UPN to cancel Star Trek: Enterprise on February 2, 2005, but the network allowed the series to complete its fourth season. The final episode aired on May 13, 2005."

Okay, I stand corrected. Mr. President, please ban Enterprise and begin bombing in 15 minutes.

Re:fired up, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206104)

Two words: "National Laboratories". There's plenty of money in the USA for scientists and engineers.

Re:fired up, huh? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206144)

Mmm. What I'm hearing from President Political "Science" / International Relations / Lawyer is "do as I say, not as I did".

bucks (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206176)

Not going to happen.

A post-doc doing biomedical research (which is the highest-paid field) makes $40k at NYU. This is after spending 4 years in college, and then doing research for 6 years making a $25k/year stipend. With a conversion rate of under 1 percent for faculty positions (which don't pay that much more anyway), why in the world would anyone actually do that to themselves?! You'd have to be REALLY driven to want to work 60+ hour weeks, under the perpetual stress of having your grant pulled, for less than subway ticket clerks make.

Even better, in our new future we'll hamstring doctors and nurses pay, and make sure that nobody gives a damn about that kind of science too.

As for physics and chemistry (and I am not even talking about Mathematics), we've already driven them into the ground. No need to worry any further.

I used to be a chemist (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206342)

As for physics and chemistry (and I am not even talking about Mathematics), we've already driven them into the ground. No need to worry any further.

The problem is there just isn't a big market for science. I really can't advise anyone to take science at all. Not for money anyway.

There is however a big market for Quants.

 

Re:bucks (0, Troll)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206424)

But aren't you doing something you like doing in that research? And get something like free room and board? Or something like that?

And do you have to TA? If I were do do a music thing, I'd have to TA to get my stipend, and the stipend is not $40k.

IMO, I don't see how anyone could complain too much about getting $25k a year for doing something you presumably love doing and not having to do anything else (like "work" for your living. I work for my living and do what I *love* doing in the evening in my "free" time. I make more than $25k a year, of course, but I have to pay for room, board, and my hobby, too).

Not saying it couldn't be improved; I'm saying it's not as bad as nothing.

Hamstringing doctors/nurses pay... not to mention biomedical research because of taxing the biomedical businesses who make their living researching and selling their tech ... somehow we're going to tax them to pay for better health care and ... erg, don't get me started in that one. Sure, maybe reform is in order, but not haphazard un-thought-out ridiculous reform from a bunch of politicians who mostly inherited fortunes from their families and have barely had to work for anything in their life. No, I'm not just talking about Democrats. That was a bipartisan critique :)

Re:fired up, huh? (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206328)

Wow, an intelligent comment on Slashdot? What is this world coming to?

Some of us do what we do only for the thrill of the challenge, the chance to learn something new, and watching what you build come to creation. The hours are long not just because people are being stretched more but because there's a level of interest which becomes an obsession at times. I know when I'm in my "groove" I tend to forget to eat, go home etc but that's part because it's exciting and part because as I get older it comes less frequently than it used to, and catching back up to where I was takes longer the next day.

Re:fired up, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206406)

You seem to have been disentangled from normal space-time. First, Enterprise was cancelled years ago. Second, it's been a long time since the Texas collider has been considered "half-finished" ... nearly 2 decades.

More importantly, the US can never again be a leader in these areas, its simply not an achievable goal given the country's attitude and personal agendas. Too many other countries (especially those 1st/3rd world types) have vastly better and cheaper education systems filled with young minds not distracted by toys, television and a sense of entitlement, attending in longer school days and school years, hungry for the opportunity that only education will bring, and they do so at a fantastic fraction of the cost. In America, only the wealthy can afford the type of education needed to achieve this. Meanwhile those in the know (hello /.) spend their time pissing/moaning/whining about patent laws, copyright and the government (case in point) and then wait for somebody else to come along and do the hard work involved in actually fixing things.

Good luck with that.

Re:fired up, huh? (2, Insightful)

MadAnalyst (959778) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206414)

You know what really pays like crap? Teaching.

I have one of those fancy scientific degrees the parent mentions, and a good job to go with it. I enjoyed teaching in college (TA work in lab and lecture) and think I do pretty decently at it. But it will be a long time until I consider teaching because the pay stinks and I got me a load a debts to manage (thanks to my fancy education).

I guess I'm just stating a moderately true idea that it is often those who can't that teach. I can, so I am somewhere doing the higher paid option. I don't really love it every day, but the almighty dollar matters right now. Would I enjoy teaching more? I just might, particularly the sense of achievement that comes with improving our youth (also called getting to be smug about it). But that field can't afford me right now.

Sounds good? (2, Informative)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 3 years ago | (#30205990)

just graduated from high school in June, and i was just about the only one in my math and science class that actually cared about the class.

people these days just don't care about science. Most of the people i talked to wanted to go into the medical field, gaming field, or sports field, so while i didn't ask everyone in the school, i never met anyone who wanted to go to MIT or go work in a laboratory like in Los Alamos.

Re:Sounds good? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206036)

WTF is the "gaming field"?

Re:Sounds good? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206046)

Video game design and testing. Playing video games all day = perfect job, to them.

Re:Sounds good? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206336)

Heh, except that game testing is boring, boring, boring. You (mostly) don't play the game, you have to go to every last little place on the level, see if you can walk through it, see if effects, weapons, etc. work in weird places, and document that stuff.

And if the game you're working on is a stupid pile-of-crap, you don't get the option of saying "this sucks" and putting in your favorite game instead.

Re:Sounds good? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206364)

Sounds like they are in for one hell of a shock when they find out about reality.

good in theory (1)

bcong (1125705) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206026)

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them. - Albert Einstein As someone who played with their parent's chemistry set as a kid, and grew up fascinated by science and technology...I hope this works out

How about just paying a decent wage? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206028)

Y'know might make some people feel more appreciated.

Science positions in general pay pathetically.

 

Mythbusters (2, Interesting)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206038)

Adam Savage from Mythbusters was present, and twittered [twitter.com] about the day's event, including being mentioned in Obama's speech and even posted a photo or two of meeting him and Dean Kamen.

soundbite lessons as PSAs (4, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206040)

I really think someone should bring back Public Service Announcement education (a la "Schoolhouse Rock") in a big way. Keep the lessons small and bite-sized, fit them into 30 second spots. Just keep banging away simple concepts that are aimed at middle-schoolers and adults who forgot all of that stuff. Using simple math to figure out gallons of paint required for a wall of a given size. Linking fuel purchased to pollution created in numbers. Explaining the difference between anecdotes versus statistical norms, like the recent breast-cancer-screening recommendations. Illustrating the kinds of technology Europe, Asia and the Americas had in 1400 AD or 1600 AD or 1800 AD. Heck, even just quoting and explaining each of the Constitutional Amendments during shows like "24 Hours" or "CSI" would have a profound impact in the long run.

Re:soundbite lessons as PSAs (1)

KraftDinner (1273626) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206178)

...during shows like "24 Hours"....

Hmm, that's a new one to me.

24 hours (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206372)

...during shows like "24 Hours"....

Hmm, that's a new one to me.

Oh, that's the one with Eddie Murphy, right? And they're doing a follow-up series called "Another 24 hours"...

Re:soundbite lessons as PSAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206314)

Do you really want someone designing the next ABS system for your car, or doing the load calculations for a bridge who can only concentrate in 30 second spots? The only way to learn is through hard-work, making some sort of gimmick to help people remember random facts is useless. It's all about being able to apply the concepts and apply what you learned in one class in another, and finally in real life.

Re:soundbite lessons as PSAs (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206390)

That would fail miserably.

You'd have to choose what information to present, which "side" to take on each topic, figure out how to give that information to kids without offending anyone, then produce it , run it, and keep a team of washed-up academics on your payroll to keep it up-to-date with the latest research and information (which will still be wrong).

Taking your painting a wall example.
If you present it as flatly as a math book question, no one will pay attention.

"Billy is painting a wall. The wall is 12 feet by 10 feet. How much paint does Billy need to apply a single coat with and average thickness of 1/10,000th of an inch?"

It becomes a simple volume calculation, and utterly pointless. No one will pay attention.

If you try to liven it up, you'll get tons of fucking issues.

"Billy is painting a wall. The wall is 12 feet by 10 feet. How much Dutch Boy brand quality latex paint does Billy need to complete the project?"

Well how much do you need?
Dutch Boy sure as fuck won't want you giving out bad information. And if you don't use a real brand name, you'll just get mock PSAs from other paint companies saying Billy would have only needed X amount of paint if they used their brand, or Billy could paint that wall for $X, etc.

Contractors and painters will bitch. You can't have Billy painting a wall that's not to code! That was clearly a cement and mortar wall less than 15 feet from the main house. Billy needs to power wash, seal, prime, apply at least 2 layers of an outdoor, weather-rated paint, then seal again. If the wall has any mortar damage or loose sections, it must be inspected and repaired by a licensed contractor before any work can be done on it.

The kid that plays Billy has to be white to ambiguously brown - you can't have a government ad only showing "minorities" doing manual labor.

You have to find out what color Billy should paint the wall - to avoid offending anyone. Can't have a white Billy painting a wall white!

You have to update your ad every year in accordance with whatever bullshit they do.

"Be sure to use a non murderchem based paint."
"Be sure to use a non-synthetic brush"
"Be sure to use an all-cotton, non-synthetic, beaver-cruelty-free brush or roller."

Then in the end you realize you showed Billy stirring the paint can with a screw driver and using a large cutting brush, plus you fucked up on the math.

Now no one knows basic math or painting skills.

stem cells (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206044)

We should set up small groups around the country to independently engage in the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math... call them STEM Cells, and watch the right-wingers line up to ban funding them, on reflex.

Not without the parents (5, Insightful)

fiendo (217830) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206052)

Unless the proposal includes some tactics for getting the parents involvement, it'll be doomed before it starts. Education happens outside of the classroom just as much as in it and a child's mindset regarding education (no matter the field) is strongly influenced by their parents' mindset.

Parents . . . (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206060)

Parents, parents, parents.

They are in the best position (or should be!) to motivate their kids. If they can't, no billion dollar program will either.

Re:Parents . . . (4, Interesting)

beej (82035) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206318)

When I was about 4 years old, dad put a cup of ice water on the counter and told me to come back in about 10 minutes. After the time had elapsed, I did, and there was condensation on the outside of the glass. Dad asked me how the water got there. I speculated that it had somehow leaked through the glass.

I can't remember if he told me how the water actually got there, but that was the first time I can remember deliberately forming a hypothesis about something I'd observed

Also, for as long as I can remember, my folks had science books just floating around--lots of them with pictures like the Time-Life science books, which I had thumbed through many times before I even knew how to read. Plus they had a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I was always re-readings those.

I do wonder if I'd be as science-minded as I am today without such encouragement, or if I was just born that way to begin with. I'm sure the encouragement didn't hurt.

Practical utility and remarkable beauty (4, Funny)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206074)

Yet too often our schools lack support for teachers or the other resources needed to convey the practical utility and remarkable beauty of science and engineering.

This looks like a job for...Sagan-Man [xkcd.com] !

Government intrusion and control isn't innovative (4, Interesting)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206080)

More top down central planning of the government schools isn't going to lead to more productive outcomes. Science isn't a rigid, unchanging system that can be taught as dogma. Instead of throwing another stifling straitjacket onto the failed government schools, he might emulate the diverse and decentralized environment of scientific achievement, and allow competition with government schools, and competing curricula that will over time lead to increasingly more beneficial outcomes.

First abandon offshoring, then worry about schools (1)

junkgoof (607894) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206392)

Why would anyone go into science or IT in a North American school? The jobs are being offshored as fast as executives can find people who claim to be able to do them cheap (with pathetic CVs and fake certifications). Pretty much all science jobs are being offshored, engineering, programming, research...

It is not easy competing with people who make $5/hour no matter how little they know. Lots of execs prefer to fail projects cheap than to try to sell them at a reasonable price.

Red flag No. 1: Teacher unions like this plan (4, Insightful)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206168)

The teacher unions complained loud and early about this plan. They pushed hard for (and eventually) got numerous changes to the original proposal.

Most of my kids' teachers have been good people generally interested in educating kids. The unions, on the other hand, are out of touch with the classroom and mostly interested in their own survival.

Sorry to be so cynical - and I only speak from personal experience - but I have yet to see the unions fight to get their way about something (tenure, testing methods, school hours, curriculum, etc.) and get a positive result in the end. And with this much money at stake...

Fantasy trumps science (almost) every time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206170)

As long as children are inundated with religion and fantasy crap from birth, throwing more money at science education programs doesn't accomplish anything at all. The only children who will emerge as scientists are the ones who were neurologically immune to all the delusional crap in the first place... meaning children who are "disordered" in some way like Asperger's Syndrome. Neurotypical children will get sucked down the Rabbit Hole of fantasy, religion, and self-delusion and never return to the physical world in which they were born.

Re:Fantasy trumps science (almost) every time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206218)

But think of all those lucrative Intelligent Design research positions American schoolkids can fill.

Re:Fantasy trumps science (almost) every time (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206266)

Yeah, like Isaac Newton. Or Renee Descartes. Ridiculous fabulators, the whole lot.

money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206180)

"Yet too often our schools lack support for teachers or the other resources needed to convey the practical utility and remarkable beauty of science and engineering."

"dramatic commitments in the hundreds of millions of dollars"

I've never understood why America's solution to every problem is to throw money at it. If money/funding is the most influential thing for a good education, America would have the best grade school system in the world.

But where's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206188)

...the friggin' video???

Should have started with MATH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206248)

And required Congress and the White House staff to attend class. Maybe then they'd understand the enormity of what they're doing with our money.

Fix another problem first (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206258)

Get rid of non-physical patents. Software, business models, etc, etc.

If you pay them, they will come. (3, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206262)

I was going to say stop paying executives and lawyers so much.

But then I realized an even more fundamental problem.

Science is hard. Degrees are expensive in the U.S.

Knowing science does not result in either good pay or security.

So smart people choose other fields which require boots on the ground, better security, and better social status.

Only suckers do science right now.

If this succeeds we can look forward to (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206284)

much more knowledgeable folks on unemployment.

Dear Dr. Science: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206366)

Where do Rethuglicans come from?

Translation: Massive Union Vote Buying Program (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#30206382)

It's just another way to sew up left-handed votes from the teachers' unions.

The actual efficacy of science education is almost entirely driven by culture, and that's almost entirely driven by the way a kid is raised. He's going to be in a science classroom ready to thrive and learn and see the big picture, or not ready to - because of how his parents have armed him for a world view that takes it all rationally into account. Parents with no sense of wonder about science? Kids without one, too.

How this administration thinks it's going to change the culture which sends kids to school - in a way that will make them happy sponges for science - even as it seeks to establish an entitlement Nanny State funded by borrowing money from countries where science (pure and applied) is actually valued and cultivated... no idea. But then, Obama has no idea, either. This is Community Organizing, around a slogan, at its classic best. Empty, meaningless platitudes that don't actually call on parents to actually do the hard work of hatching out and maintaining a curious, intellectually honest child.

Why? Because the left's power comes from asserting that parents can't and shouldn't be responsible - that the state should be in charge of those young meat computers, instead. An administration that's all about lefty group-think and completely empty utterances about Hope and Change is not actually interested in a culture of innovative, self-sufficient thinkers operating in any sphere. The want a thin layer of academics calling the shots from the top, and lot of It-Took-A-Village kids raised to vote for a Nanny State to keep them employed and in power. This particular iniative is a joke, in the context of who's cheerleading for it.

The Education Silver Bullet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30206394)

The silver bullet for education is very simple: Fix society. There's nothing inherently wrong with our schools. The problem is that schools are nothing but a microcosm of our society. We think that because schools are full of kids we have some special control over them, but that's generally not true. Kids learn what to value first from their parents, second from their role models (which are usually popular media figures), third from their peers, and only then from teachers. It's even worse when you think you can control teenagers who are not children.

Parents that do not value education produce kids that do not value educations. Parents with no ambitions produce kids with no ambitions. A society that values fame and fortune over science and progress produces kids that value fame and fortune over science and progress.

Quite simply, sick schools are a symptom of the real disease, a sick society. Of course few want to admit our society is sick, and even fewer want to make an effort to fix it. They'd rather just pretend that there's a magic trick to turning blank children (who aren't really blank) into perfect adults. Well sorry adults, but a) kids will turn out fine without you trying to "fix" them, and b) YOU are the real problem. We have to do what we want kids to do: We have to take responsibility and try to fix things instead of pushing problems onto somebody else, i.e. another generation.

Fix society, and you fix schools. It's that simple. Fixing society isn't that simple? Tough. Either do it or stop complaining about schools.

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